Customer Review

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant but showing its age, 14 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Paperback)
In his analysis of evidence that he believes shows the factors that cause a "Tipping Point" when a social behaviour becomes a widespread phenomenon, Gladwell identifies three key rules - "The Law of the Few", "The Stickiness Factor" and the "Power of Context" and illustrates these with a diverse range of examples. Each is interesting in its own right but I did find that the amount of depth that he goes into in describing the background, development and outcome of each case meant that the narrative often went down a very tangential route to the extent that I sometimes felt I lost sight of the key point being demonstrated. For example, in reviewing the "Stickiness Factor" the examples are drawn from studies of children's television and there is a significant amount of information about the detailed "market research" studies, hits and misses that eventually led to what might be considered a "winning formula" or a "sticky" idea. I felt that summarising the conclusions would have been sufficient to support the concept, and that Gladwell had become carried away with the detailed research that he himself had undertaken.

This is a shame as I feel that the three key rules are a neat way of encapsulating the basis of a "social epidemic" and give some valuable information to anyone interested in creating widespread change from an initially small scale intervention or idea. Gladwell also draws upon examples across a wide timeframe dating back as far as the American Revolution and thereby affirming the ongoing relevance of the three factors identified. Therefore in the scheme of the book's timescales the 13 year gap since original publication is short, but I wonder how different the examples used might be today. The book was of course written before the mass explosion of social media which undoubtedly means that a much greater number and range of ideas and trends reach the type of "Tipping Point" that Gladwell is describing and have become something of a "norm" today. A follow up book on a similar theme could be a very interesting comparison.
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